Allegories of Science and Art
Type Sculpture , Statue
The male figure, personifying Science, holds attributes including dividers and compasses. The female, personifying Art, holds an painter's palette and has an easel by her side. Both figures fit their architectural setting, seated around the arch, their outstretched hands echoing its shape. The arch is further decorated by stylised foliation in low relief, typical of the period yet reminiscent also of French seventeenth century architectural decoration. The figures complement the Italian-French Renaissance architecture of the arcade.
These imposing carvings are located at one end of this arcade built over a tunnel of the Great Western Railway by the architect W.H. Ward in 1875 and opened on 28th August 1876.(1) The first of several such arcades in Birmingham, it comprised ninety four shops and offices under a glass roof.(2) The figures were intended, along with two others in the spandrels on the Colmore Row facade, to attract trade from the other main shopping area on Bull Street.
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